Sunday, August 20, 2017

New constitution committee given to mid-2015 to finalise amendment bill

Parliamentary speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has told a recently formed constitution review committee to submit a bill to amend the constitution to parliament no later than six months before elections scheduled for late 2015.

The speaker told MPs on February 18 that the committee should make section 12 of the constitution, which outlines the process for amending the document, its top priority.

He also said the 31-member committee should draft a bill that ensures the Tatmadaw’s role conforms to democratic norms and gives more autonomy to states and regions.

In a surprise move, he also instructed them to review the process of selecting the president and two vice presidents, and to consider whether the president, vice president and Union Government ministers should have to resign from their party and as MPs if they are appointed to the government, as currently required.

Under the current presidential electoral college system, elected MPs in the upper house, elected MPs in the lower house and appointed military MPs each select one presidential candidate. The president is selected by a vote in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, or combined upper and lower houses, with the two other candidates becoming vice presidents.

Thura U Shwe Mann said the review team should meet at least once a week while the parliament is in session and once a month when in recess in order to prepare the constitutional amendment bill.

The 31-member committee was formed on February 3 to implement the findings of a 108-member review committee that submitted a report to parliament on January 31.